NASA has revealed that Curiosity, the laser-armed, nuclear-powered space tank that's been rolling around Mars for over a year now, appears to have defeated the Martian race. If indeed it exists.…
Details are emerging about Stardust, a piece of malicious software that targets point-of-sale credit-card processing machines. Stardust has reportedly compromised over 20,000 PoS machines and turned them into a easy-to-control botnet. The malware's masters can monitor the botnet in realtime and issue fine-grained commands to its components, harvesting a titanic volume of payment card details.
The discovery comes as researchers from a separate security firm called Arbor Networks published a blog post on Tuesday reporting an active PoS compromise campaign. The advisory is based on two servers found to be hosting Dexter and other PoS malware. Arbor researchers said the campaign looks to be most active in the Eastern Hemisphere. There was no mention of a botnet or of US restaurants or retailers being infected, so the report may be observing a campaign independent from the one found by IntelCrawler.
It remains unclear how the attackers manage to initially infect PoS terminals and servers that make up the botnet. In the past, criminals have targeted known vulnerabilities in applications that many sellers of PoS software use to remotely administer customer systems. Weak administrator passwords, a failure to install security updates in a timely fashion, or unknown vulnerabilities in the PoS applications themselves are also possibilities.
Credit card fraud comes of age with advances in point-of-sale botnets [Dan Goodin/Ars Technica]
The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced a clampdown on an Android developer accused of covertly harvesting and selling user locational data.…
Microsoft is planning to release at least five critical fixes in next week's Patch Tuesday monthly security update.…
A team of boffins at Microsoft Research have been trying to solve the problem of stress eating with a Windows Phone smartphone app and a bra that measures the wearer's emotions.…
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
How much does it cost to buy out one of big brother's favored toolmakers? Around $9bn, according to a recent valuation of Silicon Valley darling Palantir.…
Compatibility problems continue to plague Internet Explorer 11, with some Microsoft customers once again complaining that the company's latest browser doesn't work with one of its own products.…
Read more of this story at Slashdot.
Liz writes, "In the spirit of Charles Dickens, bestselling author Elizabeth Hand is donating all royalties from the new e-book edition of her holiday classic, Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol, to Autism Speaks in memory of Anne Marie Murphy, a high school classmate killed in the Newtown shootings. A finalist for the World Fantasy Award, Hand's modern carol recasts the original with a Joey Ramone wannabe, the ghost of a beloved childhood TV show, and the redemption of a father estranged from his autistic child. Reviewers call it 'a delight' and 'absolutely perfect reading.' 'There are people who reread 'Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol' every year, and that makes me happier than almost anything.' -Clarkesworld."
Last Christmas season, twenty first-grade children and six faculty members died in the inconceivable horror of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut (perpetrated by a deeply troubled young man who had undefinedAsperger’s). One of those children was Dylan Hockley, an autistic child who died in the arms of his special-education teacher, Anne Marie Murphy. I knew Anne Marie as Annie McGowan: She was a classmate of my younger sister Kathleen at John F. Kennedy Catholic High School, attended by both our families. Kath described Annie as “a good friend, but probably every person who knew her considered themselves to be her good friend, because she made them feel that way.”
Anne Marie’s parents have asked that any donations in their daughter’s memory be given to Autism Speaks, America’s largest autism advocacy and research organization. All royalties from this edition of Chip Crockett’s Christmas Carol will go to Autism Speaks in Anne Marie Murphy’s name. You can learn more about this organization, or contribute individually to Anne Marie’s tribute page, at the links below. Chip Crockett's Christmas Carol (Thanks, Liz!)
Jean MacDonald was formerly best known for her role as a software marketing and public-relations guru for a major Macintosh software developer, but her work to create App Camp for Girls has eclipsed that. Jean and her colleagues raised over $100,000 on Indiegogo to fund an initial two sessions of a week each in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, and the next step is national. Jean talks about the particular challenges of bootstrapping a non-profit from zero through crowdfunding, and the group's efforts in navigating their way to the next steps.
This episode is sponsored by Stack! Get a delightful, carefully selected current issue of a different English-language print magazine from around the world delivered to your mailbox each month. Use code DISRUPT13 for $5 off a three-month subscription or $20 off a year's wonderful arrivals. Visit Stack to subscribe.
Things we mention in this episode:
Jean is a principal at Smile Software, makers of PDFPen Pro and other Mac and iOS products, which has been a past and is a future sponsor of this podcast. But we're just talking in this episode about her non-profit work.
Jean's main partners in this endeavor are Kelly Guimont and Natalie Osten. Christa Mrgan, who participated in teaching at the camp, designed The New Disruptors logo and has written and illustrated for The Magazine.
While App Camp works its way towards independent nonprofit status, it's under the fiscal sponsorship of TechStart Educational Foundation. The 99% Invisible podcast is under the auspices of a non-profit, PRX. TechStart had already performed this function for ChickTech.
Jean discovered that if you need bulk snacks, go to Costco.
If you didn't follow our discussion about how Kickstarter processes payments: Amazon Payments handles charging credit cards. When you sign up at Amazon, you agree to give 5% to Kickstarter. Amazon then processes the charges on your behalf, as if you had done them. It then releases that money to you or your company and sends you a 1099-K, which for American taxpayers is also reported to the IRS (if above $20,000 or 200 transactions in a calendar year). It is like a bunch of charges, not a single monolithic amount.
Matthew Inman, the cartoonist behind The Oatmeal, raised over $220,000 for charity to spite a firm that threatened Inman over a strip he did critiquing the firm for using his cartoons on its site without permission.
After video circulated of a schoolbus monitor being ridiculed by teenagers on the bus on which she worked, someone started an Indiegogo campaign to buy her a nice vacation. Instead, over $700,000 was raised for her on Indiegogo. She started a group called Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation with some of the money.
Registering as a non-profit with a state government in America doesn't confer federal tax-exempt status. Many organizations are seemingly confused about this. A separate filing with the IRS is required and the tax agency has to approve it; it's not a rubber stamp.
Dean Putney, a previous guest (Episode 48) on this show, raised over $110,000 to print a version of an album of photos his great-grandfather had taken before and during World War I in Germany, including shots from the trenches. Dean just got advance copies, and he's now accepting pre-orders for post-Kickstarter fulfillment in a few weeks.
The percentage of women obtaining degrees in computer science and engineering fields has dropped substantially since the 1980s, when the ratio was at its peak. While the number of degrees on those fields has ebbed and fallen in that period, the ratio has steadily shifted toward men.
The New Yorker wrote a piece specifically about App Camp for Girls this summer. The New York Times has recently run two articles about the topic of getting girls and women into programming; in August about Girls Who Code and other programs, and in October, a piece about creating media role models.
"Computers" were historically women working at calculating machines. The field shifted to men when the pay rose, true in many fields still today.
Boars, Gore, and Swords is hosted by stand-up comedians Ivan Hernandez and Red Scott. In each episode they break down HBO's Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. They also talk about movies, TV, science fiction, fantasy, and lots of other things using foul language. In this episode, they discuss Arya VIII and Jaime VI chapters of George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords (Catch up on past podcast episodes here to listen to previous chapter breakdowns). Also covered: Gendry's ignorance, Railroad getting women into bed, the new Boing Boing readers, Aenys Frey, Ivan's review of Square Inc's cafeteria, Lannister ambition, Jaime dream interpretation, Brienne's poor record as a bodyguard, Vargo, and the Kingthlayer.